How the Mighty–and the Children of the Mighty–Sometimes Fall

SELLERS: Marisa Noel Brown
LOCATION: East 78th Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $12,000,000
SIZE: to be 7,800 square feet with 8 bedrooms
DESCRIPTION: Perfectly situated just off Fifth Avenue on one of the city’s most prized townhouse blocks, this stunning 20’ wide brownstone has approved plans from the Department of Buildings and the Landmark Preservation Commission for the addition of a 6th floor, an 8 foot expansion on all floors towards the garden, and the excavation of the basement. The approved plans also include vast windows on the back of the house, bringing additional light and garden views into the 7,800 square foot home….

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama does not mean to be callous and we do feel a teeny bit bad about not feeling very badly about the misfortune of some of the highest of financial flyers and their hyper-consuming progeny whose wings were clipped when Wall Street went to hell in a hand basket on the back of credit default swaps, mortgage backed securities and all those other failed financial instruments that no one really understands. However, just like our finest friend Fiona Trambeau who relishes schadenfreude the way Madonna revels in the spotlight, like metal to a magnet Your Mama is also drawn to all the news about how far the formerly financially mighty are falling in the aftermath of the recent economic tsunami. We know, it’s ugly and unseemly and in utter bad taste to delight in the downfall of others, but we just can’t help our self sometimes.

Which is why, yesterday, when real estate gossip Mister Max Abelson at the NY Observer announced that toothy New York City gal about town Marisa Noel Brown and her huzband Matt Brown finally did what what all the Manhattan real estate watchers knew they were eventually going to have to do–list their Indiana limestone faced townhouse on East 78th Street–Your Mama got all goose-pimpled and sweaty.

For those children who do not know, Missus Noel Brown is one of several daughters sired by much maligned hedge hog Walter Noel, the founder of the Fairfield Greenwich Group which famously funneled some 7.5 billion client dollars into the bottomless pit that was Bernie Madoff’s sixty-five billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Missus Noel Brown’s huzband Matt had been a well paid managing director at F.G.G., but is now, of course, unemployed.

Property records and bazillions of previous reports reveal that Mister and Missus Brown bought the 20-foot wide townhouse on East 78th Street in January of 2008 for $13,500,000. The couple reportedly took a nine million dollar mortgage, hired the fab folks at Steven Harris Architects and planned a multi-million dollar renovation that listing information indicates included adding a sixth story to the five already there and adding a glassy eight feet to rear end of the townhouse which would would have brought the total square footage to around 7,800.

The townhouse sits just half a block from Central Park and a few more blocks from the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art, the unauthorized history of which can be read in Michael Gross’s deevoonly salacious and scandalous new book Rogues’ Gallery. Listing information indicates the interior spaces of townhouse have already been gutted and made ready for a massive, multi-million dollar renovation tha, presumably, Mister and Missus Brown can no longer afford to make since they no longer have an income or access to her daddy’s formerly fat bank account.

The plans, according to listing information, included “dramatic” interior spaces, a roof deck, a “sophisticated” master suite plus seven additional bedrooms, 4 fireplaces, a “soaring” staircase and an elevator for the old, the infirm and the lazy. It’s just too back the once publicity seeking Browns ran out of luck and money because we’re quite sure they would have had magnificent photographs taken of the place so it could be published in one of the better shelter publications.

The comely couple have chosen to list their townhouse with an asking price of $12,000,000 a figure our bejeweled abacus reveals is a staggering one-point-five million clams less than they paid for the place just over 1 year ago…and that’s not counting the architect fees, cost of demolishing the interiors and the staggering carrying costs of the $9,000,000 mortgage and the $46,450 yearly tax bill. Even worse for Mister and Missus Brown is that more than one real estate insider is whispering to the press and anyone else who will listen that word on the real estate street is that the cash-strapped couple will take much less than twelve million dollar asking price. Oh dear.

No matter what price the townhouse eventually sells, Your Mama seriously doubts we’ll soon see Missus Noel Brown schlepping her Balenciaga clad booty and Jimmy Choo shod feet onto a cross-town bus with all the MetroCard carrying plebes. However, given the sharp-toothed and vicious social culture of the Upper East Side new money hoity-toities, we don’t imagine she’ll be hanging on to her vaunted position among all the young and well maintained ladees who lunch and shop and order the maid around while their huzbands and fathers pay the bills.

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